In an ideal work environment, bosses and employees get along harmoniously, and co-workers feel like respected members of a team. When one employee causes problems for another, however, it can make going to work unbearable. Some employees harass others, ridicule other workers' ideas or fail to do their own share of the work on a project. If your co-worker is rude, lazy, mean or just plain annoying, you may be secretly dreaming of ways to get her fired. Daydreaming, unfortunately, won't fix the problem, and talking to her is generally a better way to work toward a solution. If that doesn't work, you may need to tell your boss about the issue.
Document your co-worker's bothersome behavior. For example, if you feel that your co-worker is harassing you by telling offensive and unfunny jokes while you're trying to work, write down the date of the event and exactly what happened.
Talk with your co-worker about her actions in private and at an appropriate time, such as on your lunch break or after work. Explain that her behavior makes you uncomfortable or angry. Ask the co-worker to change and suggest ways that she can improve herself. If she refuses, refrain from beating her over the head with your laptop and instead, let her know that you may have to take the matter to your boss.
Determine what you want your boss to do about the problem. For example, if an employee harasses you, your boss might ask if you want to press charges with law enforcement or just move to a different department so you can avoid the worker.
Calm down before talking to your boss. Don't rush into her office immediately after an unpleasant event with your co-worker. Your anger and frustration will make it difficult for you to clearly discuss the problem. Your boss may also not take you as seriously if you're ranting and raving like a madwoman.
Plan to talk to your boss during a relaxed time, such as after your shift or at the end of the day when the business closes for the evening. Approach your boss when she's alone and not distracted by other tasks so she can give you her full attention. If this isn't possible, you may need to set an appointment with your boss. This gives you assigned time to talk about the issue.
Describe the problem you're having to your boss. Present the notes you took about your co-worker's behavior and provide any other evidence you have. Calmly talk about the facts of the situation and make it clear how the employee is affecting your work. Although it may feel good to complain about your annoying co-worker, refrain from attacking her personality or calling her names.
Listen to your boss's solution to the problem. If you disagree with the solution, present some ideas of your own and ask if she'll consider them. For example, if your boss says she'll fire the co-worker who's bothering you, but you don't think such a harsh punishment is necessary, ask if she'll simply give her a warning instead.
- If you and several other people are having a problem with one co-worker, ask them to join you when you talk to your boss. This makes it more likely that your boss will address your concerns and help you fix the problem.
- Avoid name-calling and profanity while talking to your boss about the problem. These things make you look unprofessional and your boss may not take you or the problem very seriously.
- If the problem you're having with your co-worker isn't very serious or damaging, your boss may do nothing about it. For example, your boss probably won't be too concerned that your co-worker is parking in your spot in the company garage or stealing your soda from the break room fridge. You and your co-worker will likely need to solve squabbles like these yourselves.
Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.